Electronic Arts kills Ultima X: Odyssey

Another major MMORPG is canceled as EA redirects resources toward the upcoming Ultima Online expansion pack and a second UO-related project.

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Today Ultima X: Odyssey was summarily pulled from the production schedule by publisher Electronic Arts. The game had been on track for a 2005 release, but rumors of trouble had been swirling around the project for some time.

In a post on the official UXO Web site, producer David Yee gave the game an epitaph of sorts. "As of today, development on Ultima X: Odyssey has ended," he said. "This isn't an easy decision but it’s the right move for the future of all things Ultima, including the community and the team."

Yee said the reason for the decision was to "focus our online efforts, and most of my team will be moving to the UO expansion pack, the UO live team, and an unannounced Ultima Online project." GameSpot was told by another source within EA that no staffers were laid off as a result of today's decision.

Formerly under the guidance of lead producer Rick Hall, Ultima X: Odyssey went through an evolution when its design and development staff were recently moved from EA's Austin, Texas, studio to the company's main Redwood Shores campus. At that time, Hall relocated to EA's Tiburon studio, and UXO was placed in the hands of Yee.

UXO was to have picked up where the Ultima IX storyline left off. GameSpot's extensive coverage of the game tracked its development thoroughly and included four designer diaries and an extensive preview.

Today's announcement is just the latest in a long string of massively multiplayer online role-playing game cancellations. In February, Microsoft ceased development on Mythica, and three and a half months later it ceased development on True Fantasy Live Online. Last week, Climax pulled the plug on Warhammer Online just days after it announced some of the game's new features.

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